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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

February 3, 2009 at 9:06 AM

The hazards of double features

When writing about movies is your job, you go to a lot of double features (not to mention the occasional triple feature, and, during a Diet Coke-fueled film-festival haze, quadruple or quintuple features, which is not to be recommended as the result is that you just can’t remember the first film at all, or when you last had a real meal, or what on earth your squiggly handwritten notes were trying to say . . . ) Sorry. That parenthetical got away from me. Anyhow, most movies screen in advance for reviewers, and sometimes two will screen back-to-back for convenience, and yesterday I went to the Seven Gables in the morning and saw two: “Two Lovers,” a romantic drama starring Joaquin Phoenix and Gwyneth Paltrow, and “The International,” an action thriller with Clive Owen and Naomi Watts.
Both of these movies open later this month (the 27th and the 13th, respectively), and I’ll review them then. But a funny thing happens sometimes when you see two movies in a row, with a scant ten minutes in between in which to race across the street for a caffeinated beverage: They start to melt together just a bit. “Two Lovers” and “The International,” though very different movies, have a few similarities: Both are contemporary, both involve the heavy use of cell phones (doesn’t every movie these days?), and much of the action for both takes place in the Manhattan area. I started wondering, what if Joaquin and Gwyneth, in the angst-filled course of sorting out their unhappy love affair, just happened to bump into Clive and Naomi, who are hot on the trail of evil international bankers involved with arms trading? Would J & G be jolted out of their own unhappiness and into something bigger, perhaps taken as attractive hostages? Would C & N get drawn into the other couple’s story, maybe offering advice for the lovelorn over a pitcher of beer while the bankers continued their rogue ways? What if Naomi misdialed her cellphone and got Gwyneth, and the two of them got into an involved conversation on the care and maintenance of long blonde hair? And what if, in the middle of all this, Spider-Man happened to swoop by?
Just a fantasy, for a Monday morning. Isn’t that what movies are, anyway?

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